Major Department Store in Havana Shut Down for Health Issues
August 29, 2013
Daniel Palacios (Cafe Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — Havana's Almacenes Ultra department store will remain
closed "until further notice" on instructions from the Cuban Ministry of
Public Health (MINSAP).
The busy store was closed last week owing to "large concentrations of
mosquitos and rodents and severe leaks in sanitary facilities," store
Located in Centro Havana, Almacenes Ultra is one of the busiest State
department stores in the Cuban capital, drawing thousands of customers
"The store looks very pretty from the outside, but things are rather
different behind the counters. The warehouses aren't as clean as we
would want," said one of the cashiers at the store, who chose to remain
anonymous. The clerk was transferred to a neighboring hardware store.
No announcements as to when the store will reopen have yet been made.
Several of the more important services that had been offered in the
store, such as money transfers via Western Union, were relocated at the
Yumuri and Carlos III shopping centers in Havana.
Officials from MINSAP and the Anti-Epidemic Campaign have been seen
inspecting store facilities.
This incident arises within the context of intense efforts undertaken in
Havana to combat several outbreaks of dengue fever and cholera,
epidemics that threaten to place the island's sanitary authorities in
check once again. Havana was hit by outbreaks of these two illnesses at
the beginning of the year.
Official efforts to contain the spread notwithstanding, garbage piled up
around the city and the deplorable condition of Havana's sewage system
continue to be huge obstacles in the way of eradicating these illnesses.
Source: "Major Department Store in Havana Shut Down for Health Issues" -